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LMU Munich and WILEX sign joint patent agreement

Hope of treatment for neurodegenerative diseases

Munich, 04/22/2008

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) München and WILEX AG, the Munich-based biopharmaceutical company with a high international profile, have signed an exclusive licensing agreement over utilization of the urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) inhibitor WX-340 in treatments for neurodegenerative diseases. The agreement was arranged by Bayerische Patentallianz GmbH, a patent agency for Bavarian universities. 

“This new license secures a further area of treatment for WILEX AG. In 2008 we will work with LMU Munich on conducting experiments to confirm and expand previous findings. Although a few years will elapse before we can potentially begin clinical trials, assuming that results are positive, the agreement is nevertheless a long-term building block in WILEX’ strategy of strengthening the pipeline by establishing academic collaborations”, says Dr. Paul Bevan, Head of Research and Development at WILEX AG.

WILEX already holds a patent for the inhibitor WX-340 for use in tumor therapy. A study group under PD Dr. Stefan Lorenzl from the Neurology Clinic of the University Hospital at Grosshadern has now been able to show that WX-340 may be suitable for treating neurodegenerative diseases, particularly amytropic lateral sclerosis (ALS), in addition to its potential use in tumor treatment. The results of the study group set up for the purpose were published last year in the specialist magazine “Experimental Neurology“. ALS sufferers include British astrophysicist Stephen Hawking.

WX-340 is a urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA) inhibitor. Levels of the protease uPA rise significantly in certain types of cancer. The study group under PD Dr. Lorenzl was able to prove that increased uPA activity also occurs in ALS patients. The substance is involved in tissue infiltration and conversion processes which play a role in both ALS and cancer.

“Our main hope for this inhibitor is that it will reduce the harmful cell-level mechanisms which can develop into ALS“, states PD Dr. Stefan Lorenzl. In Dr. Lorenzl’s view, it is probable that the effects of the inhibitor can be extended to other neurodegenerative diseases and inflammatory disorders of the nervous system.

The new agreement, designed in close cooperation between patient organization Bayerische Patentallianz GmbH and the Patents and Licenses and Law departments at LMU Munich, secures WILEX the right to commercialize the product developed together with LMU Munich. The agreement demonstrates that LMU Munich’s Grosshadern hospital is a center of excellence for scientific and academic expertise, clinical practice and business management, and thus a generator of innovative developments.


“A role for the urokinase-type plasminogen activator system in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis”, M. Glas, B. Popp, B. Angele, U. Koedel, C. Chahli, W.A. Schmalix, J.M. Anneser, H.W. Pfister, S. Lorenzl. “Experimental Neurology” 207 (2007); pages 350–356


Contact at LMU Munich:
PD Dr. Stefan Lorenzl
Neurologische Klinik des Klinikums Großhadern (Grosshadern Hospital Neurology Clinic)
Tel.: 089 / 7095-4930 / 7948


Contact at Bayerische Patentallianz GmbH:
Dr. Detlef Eric Hinz
Tel.: 089 / 5 48 01 77 12


Contact at WILEX AG:
Juliane Giese
Tel: 089/ 41 31 38-29


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